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Can you take a family medical leave?

When a medical or family situation demands time and energy, you sometimes must take time off work. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may have the right to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave.

Understanding your rights enables you to care for yourself and your family while maintaining the ability to return to work.

What are your rights under the FMLA act?

If you qualify, you can legally take to up to 12 weeks of leave during each 12 months of your employment. Some of the reasons you can take protected medical leave include:

  • Birth of your child or pregnancy care needs
  • Fostering or adopting a child
  • A serious illness that is preventing you from working
  • Caring for an ill family member
  • Health needs relating to domestic violence
  • Military family leave

Your employer is not obligated to pay you during this time off but must make a position available upon your return. You will get your accumulated vacation pay, paid time off or sick leave but will not receive regular wages.

Are you an eligible employee?

You are eligible to apply for unpaid leave to handle a medical or family concern in the following circumstances:

  • You work for a covered employer
  • You have worked for your employer for at least one year
  • You have a minimum of 1,250 hours before starting an FMLA leave

Is your employer covered?

The FMLA covers the following employers:

  • All public agencies, regardless of the number of employees
  • Public and private elementary and secondary educational agencies, regardless of size
  • Private employers who have 50 or more employees within 75 miles of their work location

Knowing your legal rights helps you address discrimination and ensure fair treatment.